To His Coy Mistress Emulation

To Her Eager Suitor


Had we but world enough and time

This wooing, sir, would be no crime

We would sit down, and think which way

To walk, and pass our long love’s day.

Thou by the Indian Ganges’ side

Shouldst rubies find; I by the tide

Of thy endless attention would complain. I would

Despise you ten years before the flood,

And I should, if you please, deny

No matter how long you try.

My sweet affection should grow

Sour as vinegar and more slow;

An hundred years should go to scorn

Thine worthless mind, from dusk to morn;

Two hundred to abhor thy bodily self,

But thirty thousand to all else;

An age at least to every part,

And the last age should break thy heart.

For, sir, you deserve this state,

Nor would I hate at lower rate.

But at my back I always hear

Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;

And yonder all before us lie

Deserts of vast eternity.

My patience shall no more be found;

Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound

My echoing spite; then worms shall try

Thy self-despised virginity

And thy mad persistence into dust

And my coy disdain into rust

To rot in earth is fine to do,

Less eroding than to be with you.

Now therefore, while the youthful hue

Sits on thy skin like morning dew,

And while thy willing soul transpires

At every pore with instant fires,

Like a bird of prey with one wing lame

You should hunt more slothful game.

We should at once our time devour

Or languish in his slow-chapped power.

Let us roll all thy want and all

My hatred up into one ball,

And tear our grievance with rough strife

Through the iron gates of life:

Though you wish our love remain

Better, we never meet again.





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